September 23, 2021

Unique Sukkahs in Sukkah Village Princeton 2021 Now on View

“RISING FROM ASHES”: The sukkah with that theme built by Studio Hillier, one of eight architecture firms to participate in Sukkah Village Princeton 2021, was created and built by Julian Edgren with help from Dustin Bailey, both up-and-coming designers in the firm, with support from Studio Hillier Operations Manager Oliver Pelosi. This particular sukkah, near the Arts Council of Princeton, is paired with community partners Princeton Housing Authority/Princeton Community Housing. The sukkahs can be seen through September 29. (Photo courtesy of Studio Hillier)

By Wendy Greenberg

The sukkahs that are dotting the Princeton landscape this week are more than the innovative and creative architectural designs they appear to be. They are part of Sukkah Village Princeton 2021, an interfaith program with local partners developed to call attention to formidable social issues facing New Jersey and the world, today.

The program and event were put together by Joshua Zinder, president of the AIA of New Jersey and managing partner of the Princeton integrated architecture and design firm JZA+D, who was inspired by a similar competition in New York City. He challenged area architects to show how design could highlight the social crises of today. Eight local architects and two student design teams are participating, and are linked with nonprofit partners to highlight charitable work.

The sukkahs are hut-like shelters with specific guidelines, that define the fall festival of Sukkot, and represent the dwellings of the ancient Jews. The 11 that have sprung up in Sukkah Village are open to the public until September 29 (except for a day of religious observance on September 24) and are being disassembled on September 30. On Sunday, September 26 a Sukkah Hop is planned from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sukkah Village Family Day activities are at The Jewish Center Princeton from noon to 3 p.m.

Several panel talks are scheduled, including a panel on sustainable architecture on Thursday, September 23 at 7 p.m.;  a panel on hunger and food insecurity on Friday, September 24 at noon; and a talk on refugees  on Sunday, September 26 at 7 p.m. Registration information is on, and on the Sukkah Village Princeton 2021 Facebook page.

The sukkah locations, themes, architects, and community partners are:

Jewish Center Princeton, 435 Nassau Street: “Exodus Evolution,” HDR Inc., Sustainable Princeton; “Nested Sukkah,” JZA+D, Jewish Family and Children’s Services; “Sukkah Drash,” Michael Landau Architecture, United Way of GMC; “Tree as Shelter,” Seth A. Leeb Architect, Princeton Senior Resource Center; “Celestial Tensility” and “A Windowed Sukkah,” each by design students from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Arm In Arm, and TJC Interfaith Refugee Resettlement Committee.

Palmer Square at Hulfish Street:Illuminated Origami,” JZA+D, HomeFront.

Nassau Presbyterian Church, 61 Nassau Street: “palletHIVE,” Mills & Schnoering Architects, Trenton Area Soup Kitchen.

Trinity Church, 33 Mercer Street:Communal Convergence,” KSS Architects, Send Hunger Packing.

YWCA Princeton, 59 Paul Robeson Place: “Traversing Planes,” Michael Graves Architecture and Design, Rescue Mission.

Arts Council of Princeton, 102 Witherspoon Street: “Rising from Ashes,” Studio Hillier, Princeton Housing Authority/Princeton Community Housing.

The sukkahs are being auctioned with proceeds helping the partnering nonprofit agencies. As Zinder said in a September 8 Town Topics article, the holiday of Sukkot speaks “to the fragility of shelter. We are able to have roofs over our heads, but we need to think about those who don’t.”

Using design to convey that message defines Sukkah Village Princeton 2021.